If the Communist Party of the Philippines has not gotten the memo yet, let me spell it out. Their “revolution” is dead. In this day and age of instant digital gratification and even more potent tribalism on exhibit via social media, little girls being “martyred” in a jungle “revolution” simply can’t compete with the glitz and glamour of high-stakes college basketball.
Over the weekend, shrill cries of “makibaka” around the fall of the latest “human rights” posterchild Jo Lapira were buried under the roar of basketball fans collectively chanting “animos” and “One Big Fight!” as chi-chi archrivals Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University battled for the UAAP crown on the hard court. As hard as certain cliques of Leftist “activists” would go on to try to make something of Lapira’s death in an encounter between elements of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Philippine military last week, nothing could stop not even the most “socially aware” folk from having their basketball fix.
Evidently, anything that demands attention nowadays needs to be glammed up to attract eyeballs on the Net (where much “activist” stuff supposedly happens today). Filipino Miss Universe bet Rachel Peters’s views on politics, for example, was widely- and hotly-debated in the lead up to the climax of this year’s pageant. On the other hand, a “women’s advocacy” group like GABRIELA that recruits naive university students allegedly to participate in terrorist acts provides no contest to pontificating beauty queens even if its girls pay the ultimate price.
Perhaps it could be because of the awful sorts of thinking (on top of their terrorist ideals) put into this movement by its cheerleaders. In one tweet, for example, one of their “activists” asserted that “the Filipino woman’s place is in the struggle”. Even more disturbing, the tweet goes further to insist that “they could kill the revolutionaries but not the revolution”. The author of this tweet seems to be implying that there are many more suckers from where Jo Lapira came from — more warm bodies to throw into a “revolution” out of which many will come out horizontally, cold and stiff.
Some observers have a far simpler take on why GABRIELA seems to keep losing the PR war. Their girls are, quite simply, not easy on the eyes. They may have a point there.
Perhaps Miss Universe pageants may not be the ideal representation of what women ought to be a part of to express the brand of feminism certain Leftist groups espouse. After all, GABRIELA seem to have more demanding expectations of Filipino women that they feel are of national consequence. Certainly basketball is regarded as an important focus area of endeavour for the Filipino male. But, considering supposedly more pressing strategic objectives of consequence to national development, there are bigger goals to cheer the ablest-bodied of Filipino manhood towards than a hoop hanging just a literal ball’s throw away.
See, the Philippines remains, at heart, an appearances-obsessed society. Substance in principle and form are consistent hard-sells in Filipino society. In contrast to circuses underpinned by ideological abstractions, beauty pageants and basketball games between elite schools mirror Filipinos’ entertainment media preferences to a tee. There are instant prizes every minute and lots of fair-skinned eye candy underneath spotlights to gawk at. Don’t make basag the trip of a good show with the dark story of a martyred kid who seemingly mistook a “revolutionary” movement for medical school.
If the commies want to attract more attention — and more sympathy — to their movements, it would probably help to rethink their approach to social (and traditional) media presence and perhaps get their leaders and representatives to trim a bit off their eyebrows. Better yet, they should start shopping around for a new, more marketable ideology — something they’ll likely find in a mall rather than in a jungle.
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